SHORT ESSAY

Write a concise essay that refutes moral relativism and defends objective morals.  Give clear examples.

*****

A very common objection to defend just about every wrong practice is to ask the question, “Who are you to tell me what’s right and wrong?” Such is a provocative question that often leaves the Christian scurrying for sound bite answers.  Indeed, who are we to judge? Who gives us the authority to dictate our morals on others? Why interfere with the life of others in a cacophony of individuals where religious freedom is the paradigm?

“I believe everyone has the right to make choices for themselves.” Says one.  “No one has the right to dictate his morals on another.” Lectured the other.  “What is wrong for you is not wrong for me.”  But are these statements acceptable? Can one live a coherent life believing that there is no such thing as an objective moral law that ought to be followed? I think otherwise.

In working with this issue, one has to first draw to light hidden assumptions.  The dictates of moral relativism is that no one should impose his morals to others.  But that alone is a self-contradiction.  To tell someone that he should not impose his morals is itself imposing one’s morals on others.  A person who disagrees would simply ask, “Why are you imposing your morals by telling me not to impose my morals on you?”

Intellectually honest moral relativists would not be able to escape the fact that morals have to be first objective before it is relative.  In other words, the very foundation of moral relativism is moral objectivism!

One doesn’t have to take too long to see why moral objectivism makes more sense.  There is an obvious moral difference between cooking a child for food and cooking food for a child.  There is an obvious moral difference between loving the poor and spitting on them.  The list goes on.  There are values that are objectively good in any situation.  Trustworthiness, love, respect.  Similarly, there are also things that are objectively wrong.  Torture of babies, rape, and theft.

To accept moral relativism as the norm is to surrender any form of claim in what’s right and wrong.  For instance, an event in 1809 clearly illustrates the point. In an incident known as the Boyd Massacre, a pack of New Zealand natives cannibalized about seventy people.  As soon as the Europeans heard the news, they set sail to New Zealand in an attempt to rescue the survivors.  Here we see two different cultures holding two totally different belief systems.  One finds it okay to eat the flesh of another human being yet the other finds it appalling.  If morals are to be left unchecked, as encouraged by moral relativism, the Europeans are disrespecting the status quo and therefore, ought to be held responsible for their insensitivity towards the New Zealanders.  If moral relativism is true, then the New Zealanders aren’t really doing anything wrong.  They are simply acting differently.

There are times when things are learned the hard way.  If one desires to stand tall and posit moral relativism despite its absurdity, it sometimes makes sense to teach the lesson experientially.  For instance, a story was told of a lecturer in an auditorium discussing moral objectivism.  One of the audience shoot up and yelled, “How dare you tell me what I ought to do!  You have no right to impose your morals on me.”  The speaker later wrote in a book that he is very much tempted to respond, “Sit down and shut up.  I don’t care about what you think.”

Of course, the speaker never attempted to humiliate the heckler.  But the point is clear.  If the heckler protested against moral objectivism, he immediately relieves his right to demand anyone else to treat him with respect.  To do so is to impose his morals on others and therefore, an intellectual suicide on the part of the relativist.

In this, the case is clear.  There’s no good reason to believe that moral relativism is superior over moral objectivism.  To live life as a moral relativist is to commit an intellectual suicide.  One can certainly claim it with his mouth, but would never really practice it in life.

As Christians, the source of objective morals is clear.  Objective moral values and duties exist because of God’s laws.  To break one of them is to commit something that is morally wrong.  To obey them is to do something that is morally right.  While moral relativism certainly appeals to some who wants to do things their way, it never really has a justifiable ground to start with.  In its core, it self-destructs.  In practice, it is unlivable.  There really isn’t any other option.  Morals are objective.  Such reality is intellectually and experientially undeniable.

 

 

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